Collaborative Writing Online: Unravelling the Feedback Process

in Learning and Teaching Writing Online
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There is a large number of meta-studies at all levels of education highlighting the importance of feedback on learning and its status as one of the major quality aspects in teaching and learning. What is the best type of feedback to give in an online learning environment in order for the students to benefit from it and improve their essay? What do students actually do with the feedback they receive? How can we ensure that students implement the feedback given and are then able to extrapolate it to other written task? These questions have been studied in various educational contexts, but there are still some specific issues requiring further examination in online learning environments based on asynchronous communication; that is, in those contexts where teachers and students do not coincide in time or space. Such is the aim of our research, which specifically looks at how technology-enhanced environments can solve the challenges that may arise in collaborative writing tasks. This chapter presents the principal contributions to these questions based on a dialogic conception of feedback that integrates the process of giving/receiving-processing-implementing it in an enhanced text. Main findings show that feedback provided should be designed to promote discussion among students about the feedback received to enable them to introduce changes in their texts. In this regard, feedback should be epistemic and suggestive; i.e., based on questions and proposals on how they can improve their assignments, in order to contribute to higher quality student learning.

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